May Day or Beltane.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender May 1, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , , Comment No Comments

I cant believe that May is here already! Today is May Day or the pagan celebration of Beltane. Traditionally a May Queen was selected to honour the fertility of Mother Earth and the day was celebrated with much meriment including dancing round the May Pole. Well although there is no May blossom here or any dancing round any May Poles, I have been busy in the garden.

Just a few weeks ago I was starting to feel a bit discouraged, looking around the garden thinking how awful everything looked. The lawn was pale and sparse, no sign of any buds or blossom on the fruit trees and the soil was cold and wet. Well, what a difference a few weeks of milder, sunny weather makes! The plants and trees in the garden have sprung into growth, the soil has dried and warmed up, even the lawn, which had it’s first cut yesterday [ 30th April ] looks lush and green. It makes me so happy!

My early spring plantings of broad bean Karmazan are looking really well and I have just made another sowing of them in modules for a later crop. Today I planted out more module raised broad beans, this one is Crimson Flowered. With it’s magenta flowers it looks very pretty in the beds, though it’s not a heavy cropper.

I have a number of different peas and dwarf beans coming along in their modules, with the runner beans just starting to poke their heads above the surface of the compost. Dont try to plant any runner beans out yet, it’s still too cold at night. I will be planting out some maincrop and climbing peas and also mangetout in a week or so, my early sowings of pea Douce Provence are about 8 inches tall now are are growing fine outside. You can sow any of your peas direct outside now if your soil is workable. My dwarf bean plants will go outside in a couple of weeks under fleece.

I planted out half my seed raised onion plants today, these are the variety The Kelsae, and hopefully the rest will go in tomorrow. I already have some autumn onions growing and I have planted out a bag of Red Baron onion sets. The garlic that was planted in October is growing away fast, and I am hoping for some good sized cloves in early August. Dont forget to keep your garlic weed free as leek rust that can effect garlic too, is often harboured by weeds. If you havn’t given your autumn planted garlic or onions a feed yet, a dusting of blood, fish and bone or a few handfulls of chicken pellets would give them a real boost now in this warmer weather.

I sowed my first batches of sweet corn yesterday, I am growing some heritage varieties sent to me by friends. These sweet corn are both edible and decorative, I have the varieties Black Aztec, Blue Hopi, Fiesta and the small oval headed Strawberry corn. You can put the whole dried ear of Strawberry corn in the microwave for a few minutes for a stick of pop corn! Great fun!

I have potted on my early tomato plants and have given them a weak seaweed feed as some were looking a bit pale and peaky. Other ‘normal’ years they would be twice the size and already be in big pots or growbags. If you have any tender veggies that are looking a bit pale, it will be well worth you giving them a half strength feed to pep them up.

My cucumbers and melons have germinated well in the propagator but are only small and havn’t grown any true leaves yet. I am glad they are not too advanced as the unheated greenhouse is far to cold at night for them. They will stay in the house untill June or later depending on the weather.

Dont forget to harden off properly any plants grown indoors, either place out in the greenhouse then into a coldframe, covering with fleece if the nights are very cold, or place outside during the day, bringing back indoors at night. Beware of windy weather as it can damage or dry out young or newly planted seedlings. Happy May Day and happy sowing!




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